Safer supply still not available in the territory, despite what government says
Whitehorse – It’s been over 3 months since the government declared that safer supply was available and expanding in the territory, but so far, it is still nowhere to be found.
“Despite what the government is saying, safer supply is only available in theory, definitely not in practice. Safer supply is not being advertised anywhere, which means that people who want to access it have no idea it’s even available, let alone how or where to access it. Service providers who want to promote safer supply don’t even have any information to hand out.” - Annie Blake, MLA Vuntut Gwitchin
Many of the excuses this government has used to defer safer supply have already been addressed across Canada, by governments and harm reduction experts. These challenges have solutions.
“We have seen a lack of political will at every turn when it comes to having safer supply available across the territory. Ensuring that safer supply is available for everyone reminds our most vulnerable folks that they matter. Regardless of what path people are on, we all deserve life-saving services.” - Annie Blake, MLA Vuntut Gwitchin
The Yukon NDP is calling on the government to immediately make safer supply available by:
- Following the model of British Columbia, which enables registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses to prescribe treatment medications for opioid use disorder. This would allow more healthcare workers to prescribe safer supply.
- Accessing national communities of practice to build on existing knowledge from other jurisdictions.
- Consistently meeting with community partners in the Yukon to build on their firsthand knowledge and experience.
- Promoting the availability, as well as how and where to access safer supply via community partners, healthcare providers, government communication, advertisement and others means to ensure awareness that this program exists.
“Allowing registered nurses to prescribe safer supply would open the door to safer supply being accessible all over the territory. Training for nurses has already been developed in BC. We know there are nurses who are interested in being involved. We know there are nurses in BC that would be ready and willing to come up for training and support. What are the Liberals waiting for?” - Kate White, MLA for Takhini-Kopper King
- A safer supply of opioids is a harm reduction measure to save preventable overdose deaths.
- Streets drugs in the territory are increasingly toxic, especially since the pandemic started. Access to safer supply will save lives.